The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Vietnam Category 1 status, setting the stage for Vietnamese airlines to serve US destinations.
“A Category 1 rating means Vietnam’s civil aviation authority meets International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards for personnel licensing, operations, and airworthiness,” states the FAA.
“With the Category 1 rating, Vietnamese air carriers that are able to secure the requisite FAA and [Department of Transportation] authority can establish service to the United States and carry the code of US carriers.”
The awarding of Category 1 follows the visit of an FAA delegation to Vietnam last August.
“The FAA had not previously assessed Vietnam’s civil aviation authority for compliance with ICAO standards,” says the FAA. “The Category 1 status announced today is based on an August 2018 FAA assessment of the safety oversight provided by the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam.”
The move is likely to see Vietnamese airlines beef up their long-haul fleets. Vietnam Airlines has assessed both the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350-1000 for the 7,098nm Ho Chi Minh City-Los Angeles route. Low-cost rival VietJet Air has discussed obtaining widebodies from time to time, and startup Bamboo Airways has commitments for 20 787-9s.